Continental Philosophy Review 49 (3):293-308 (2016)

In this paper I examine two limit cases in which the body is threatened: the experience of emergency as described by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Flight to Arras, and the experience of illness as described by Jean-Luc Nancy in his autobiographical essay The Intruder. In the first case, the everyday relationship to the body is revealed to be illusionary; the body becomes a powerful yet obedient machine. In the second case, the everyday relationship to the body is also suspended, but this time in favor of a weak and objectified body. I argue that these apparently opposite experiences actually presuppose a similar notion of the everyday body, which I further conceptualize, through Merleau-Ponty and his analysis of the body, as deficient and therefore inherently repressed. The paper concludes with the suggestion that writing about one’s own body may be seen as a way to fight the everyday tendency towards repression, and I propose overwriting as a term that can capture this process.
Keywords Saint-Exupéry  Merleau-Ponty  Nancy  Body  Death  Writing  Emergency  Illness
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DOI 10.1007/s11007-015-9344-2
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